On a visit to the Jersey shore town of Strathmere last weekend, my husband and I parked in a huge puddle on the side of the road. When we returned to the truck after a day on the beach, I noticed that the puddle was filled with hundreds, if not thousands of tiny tadpoles. We have been having daily rains and the side of the road has become a river beside the concrete barrier of the curb. Knowing that the asphalt quickly heats in the summer sun and dries the puddles up, I immediately felt sorry for the tiny swimmers, knowing they probably wouldn’t make it to maturity.
I’m not sure what type of frog or toad these tadpoles are, but I am thinking most likely they are garden toads or tree frogs. I couldn’t resist saving a few and scooped them up with my palm and carried them home in a water bottle. (I say I did this for my grandsons to watch, but must admit, I still haven’t lost my childhood fascination for bugs and such.) A week later, most are thriving, although I think I did lose two or three. They are beginning to develop legs and the shape of their head is changing.
I found a good site explaining how to care for the small amphibians. A good way to feed them is to boil green lettuces until they are pulpy and place bits of it in the water. I am also lucky to have an outdoor pond that is filled with algae right now. (Hmmmm….not so sure that is lucky for me, but certainly is for the hungry tadpoles.) A little pond water added to their puddle water seemed to create the right environment for them.
Funny how quickly a person becomes protective. I am wondering what is the best solution for them as they morph into their final shape. I am thinking lawnmowers and hungry birds, and….well you get my line of thinking. What’s a person to do? Sigh….
Here is a terrific page on how to raise tadpoles to maturity.